When Megan, a single mother living near Boston with two teenagers, needed a new car, she signed up with Uber to fund it. She drives for the ridesharing service a few mornings a week, shuttling fellow suburbanites either to Logan Airport or to work or school nearby— before she heads to her day job as a writer for a market research company.
“My mother sends me every horror story,” she says. The Internet brims with tales about drunk, disorderly, destructive passengers—and worse. “But I drive early in the morning and I don’t do the bar crowds.” She nets enough to make her car payment and pay for gas every month. “And if I need to make more money quickly for a vacation or something, I can do that.”
NEW OPPORTUNITIES FOR DRIVERS
Driving a taxi has long been a go-to gig for people who want to make spare cash. During the past decade, Uber and its main competitor, Lyft, have created the same opportunities for anyone with a newishcar and a smartphone. The same kind of software—an app that matches drivers and people who need help with tasks requiring transportation—has also spawned services for delivering packages and groceries and running errands. If you’re free on Saturday mornings or you have a couple of hours between classes, you can log in and pick up some extra cash. In some cases, if you don’t have a car, you can use your bicycle.
Driving or cycling gigs with app-fueled, on-demand services are available mainly in large cities, university towns, and popular travel destinations. Meanwhile, businesses everywhere continue to depend on part-time workers to drive buses or shuttles, make deliveries, and park cars. These jobs sometimes require special training or licenses. Delivery van, truck, and bus drivers, for example, need commercial
driver’s licenses. Your driving or cycling skills may net you some unique work too—such as pedicabbing (see entry in this chapter).
Drivers who are part-time employees, as opposed to on-demand freelancers, have defined shifts, although employers may let workers choose them. By definition, the part-time jobs are less flexible, but the income may be more predictable. Ridesharing or on-demand delivery drivers may work anytime, but those who drive often, who work when rides are in high demand, and who are able to minimize their downtime between passengers or delivery orders earn the most. It’s best to set modest goals and surpass them. As time goes on, you’ll be better able to judge how much time you want to spend as well as the money you want to earn.
If you use your own vehicle, keep in mind that you will usually have to cover your expenses—not just gas, but also repairs that may be more frequent due to extra wear and tear. On-demand services may provide limited insurance, but only when you’re making the trip; if you get into an accident while you’re driving home after dropping off your customer, you’re on the hook. In addition, the more you drive your car, the faster it loses value. If you plan to sell the car or trade it in when it is no longer eligible to be used for work, the added mileage will affect how much you can get for it.
SIDE HUSTLES USING YOUR CAR OR BICYCLE
SERVICE PROVIDED Display advertisements wrapped around yourcar.
SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE NEEDED + | You don’t needexperience, but you need a newish passenger vehicle, and you have to be able to drive in the area targeted by each advertising campaign. Some local laws may require you to register your car as a commercial vehicle, and you may have to comply with city or homeowners’ association parking rules. If you drive with a ridesharing company, check whether their rules allow you to wrap your car.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ★ | Your own vehicle and providedadvertising materials.
WHERE TO FIND LEADS Sign up with a car-wrapping company.Beware of scams: legitimate companies will not ask you for money up front, to deposit a check and wire money, or send you messages asking for personal information. You may not get many opportunities unless you live in an urban area.
PAY RANGE $ | It depends on the ad campaign, when you drive, andwhere. For a typical campaign, drivers earn around $100 per month.
SERVICE PROVIDED Drive cars between locations for an individual,dealership, fleet service, or car rental company. Some jobs offer the opportunity to drive long distances.
SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE NEEDED ++ | Meet eligibility criteria.You need to know how to drive and have a valid driver’s license and clean driving record. You may need a commercial license in some states.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ★ | Cars.
WHERE TO FIND LEADS Car dealerships, rental car agencies, fleetservices, and car relocation delivery services all hire drivers. You may find openings advertised in online classifieds.
PAY RANGE $$ | Pay varies based on the type of company you’redriving for. Earnings of $10–$25 per hour are common.
SERVICE PROVIDED Deliver documents, small packages, food,liquor, lab specimens, business supplies, and other items.
SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE NEEDED ++ | Depending on the workand location, you will need to know how to drive and have a valid
license or be able to ride a bicycle. Some courier jobs require experience with deliveries or with handling sensitive materials.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ★ | Your own car, bicycle, motorcycle, orscooter.
WHERE TO FIND LEADS On-demand services match couriers withtasks posted by customers. Courier agencies, as well as some banks, pharmacies, healthcare providers, and medical laboratories advertise on job websites.
PAY RANGE $$ | Couriers earn an average of $18 per hour, but payrates vary widely—anywhere from minimum wage to $30 per hour or more.
SERVICE PROVIDED Operate a forklift in a warehouse.
SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE NEEDED ++ | You need to be trained tooperate the type of forklift you drive.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ★★★★ | Your employer’s forklift.
WHERE TO FIND LEADS Manufacturing companies, logisticscompanies, retail distribution centers, and dockyards typically need forklift operators. Network with people you know who work for these companies. Join task-on-demand platforms and look for advertised openings in the online classifieds to learn about opportunities.
PAY RANGE $$ | Most forklift operators earn at least $15 per hour.
SERVICE PROVIDED Bring groceries to people’s homes.
SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE NEEDED ++ | Know how to drive andhave a valid license and insurance. Be able to lift heavy bags. If you work for an on-demand service, you may have to do the shopping, too, so you should know kale from mustard greens.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ★★ | On-demand services likeInstacartorShipt require you to use your own vehicle. You’ll also need asmartphone to access the app. Supermarket-operated delivery services may provide a company van.
WHERE TO FIND LEADS On-demand services generally operate inurban areas. You have to join and download an app to see work opportunities. Find supermarket jobs through help wanted websites.
PAY RANGE $$ | Grocery delivery drivers typically earn $15–$25 perorder for on-demand services, plus tips. You have to complete jobs quickly to maximize your hourly rate. Supermarket chains pay delivery drivers around $20 an hour.
SERVICE PROVIDED Provide recreational hayrides.
SKILLS OR EXPERIENCE NEEDED ++ | Know how to operate atractor or Jeep while pulling a wagon. Be fit for heavy lifting.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ★★★ | Tractor or Jeep and wagon.
WHERE TO FIND LEADS Local parks and recreation departmentsand farms.
PAY RANGE $ | Hayride drivers earn on average $10 per hour, whichis around the minimum wage in some states.
SERVICE PROVIDED Bring meals to people in their homes oroffices.
SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE NEEDED ++ | Know how to drive andhave a valid license. In urban areas you may be able to use a bicycle, in which case you need to be physically fit and comfortable cycling fast in traffic. You’ll be lifting heavy packages too.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ★ | Your own car or bicycle. Smartphone toaccess delivery requests, get directions, and manage transactions.
You may need your own insurance.
WHERE TO FIND LEADS On-demand services includingUber Eats,DoorDash, Seamless, and Grubhub operate mainly in urban areas.You have to join and download the app to see job opportunities. Search for postings by restaurants such as Domino’s or Panera that hire their own drivers.
PAY RANGE $ | Meal delivery jobs typically pay $5–$6 per deliveryfrom on-demand platforms. Restaurants that hire their own drivers pay an hourly base rate (a starting rate of $5 an hour is typical). If you’re using your own vehicle, make sure you’re getting reimbursed for mileage. As with server jobs in restaurants, you’ll be expected to boost your per-delivery or hourly rate from tips.
Meals on Wheels delivery: while volunteers often fill these jobs, occasionally the position is paid.
SERVICE PROVIDED Transport furniture and household items.
Possibly work with a team of packers (see Chapter 10).
SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE NEEDED ++ | Have experience drivingtrucks, including those supplied by rental companies. Moving truck drivers typically need a commercial driver’s license. Be fit enough to lift heavy boxes if required.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ★★ | If you are offering a complete movingservice, you will need your own truck.
WHERE TO FIND LEADS Moving companies hire drivers. You canalso find work by joining task-on-demand platforms, including services that specialize in helping people move. Some companies supply drivers to drive customers’ rented trucks. Community-focused social media groups may be a source of work; members ask for recommendations when they need help.
PAY RANGE $$ | Moving services drivers earn around $13 per hour.
SERVICE PROVIDED Deliver newspapers to subscribers’ homes orbusinesses.
SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE NEEDED ++ | Know how to drive andhave a valid license. Be able to lift stacks of newspapers.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ★ | Your own vehicle.
WHERE TO FIND LEADS Newspaper distribution companies,advertised openings.
PAY RANGE $ | Most newspaper delivery drivers earn $10–$18 perhour.
SERVICE PROVIDED Deliver packages to residences andbusinesses.
SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE NEEDED ++ | Know how to drive, andhave a valid license. You may need a commercial driver’s license. Because you’re lifting and carrying packages that may be heavy, you need to be fit enough for the work.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ★ | Depends on the employer or service.You may need your own vehicle and insurance, as well as a smartphone to access work requests and routes.
WHERE TO FIND LEADS Established logistics companies such asUPS and FedEx, as well as many businesses that deliver supplies or equipment to customers, advertise part-time positions. If you join an on-demand platform such as Amazon Flex or TaskRabbit, you have more flexibility to set your hours, and you’ll see opportunities via their smartphone app.
PAY RANGE $$ | Pay depends on your location and the nature of thejob. If you work regular shifts for one single company, you’ll be paid an
hourly or weekly rate. Many of these jobs pay more than minimum wage. On-demand services—which generally operate in major cities and let you work when you want—advertise that drivers can earn $18 an hour or more.
SERVICE PROVIDED Transport items for individuals locally or long-distance.
SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE NEEDED + | Know how to drive andhave a valid license. If you’re transporting heavy objects, you need to be physically fit.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ★★ | Your own car, van, or pickup truck.
WHERE TO FIND LEADS As with moving services, you may findwork by joining task-on-demand platforms and community groups on social media. In some cities, peer-to-peer delivery platforms specialize in matching people who have an item to transport with someone who is going to the same place.
PAY RANGE $$ | Depending on the job and the distance traveled,peer-to-peer delivery drivers can earn anywhere from a few dollars delivering locally to several hundred dollars for an interstate trip.
SERVICE PROVIDED Transport people, give tours.
SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE NEEDED ++ | You must be physically fitenough to pedal a big tricycle in traffic while pulling a cab and passengers: total weight may exceed 500 pounds. Knowledge of local history and landmarks helps if you want to pedal for a tour company or you pick up fares from tourists. Sometimes pedicab shops provide training.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ★★★ | Typically pedicabbers rent theirvehicles. Some pedicabs are electric-assisted.
WHERE TO FIND LEADS Most of these jobs are in cities with a lot oftourists and at resorts. You may find openings advertised on help wanted sites or by contacting pedicab shops and companies that give pedicab tours.
PAY RANGE $ | Pedicabbers typically charge by the mile or by theminute and get tips, earning anywhere from $10 to $60 per hour.
RACE CAR PIT CREW
SERVICE PROVIDED Work on racing pit crews and test the cars.
SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE NEEDED +++ | Knowledge and curiosityabout cars and how to optimize their racing performance. You can attend a training program, but you also need real-world experience working on cars. If you want to race, working with a team is a common way to get exposure to the sport and develop relationships that can lead to competitive opportunities.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ★★★ | A racing car and tools.
WHERE TO FIND LEADS Your local track.
PAY RANGE $$ | Professional pit crew team members can earnupward of $100,000 per year. At the local track, under $20 per hour is more common.
SERVICE PROVIDED Transport people.
SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE NEEDED ++ | Know how to drive andhave a valid driver’s license and insurance. As with driving a taxi (keep reading), good conversation skills help you earn tips.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ★★ | You need your own car, and it has tocomply with the ridesharing service guidelines for age and condition (your 2002 hatchback with a broken seatbelt is a no go). You need a smartphone to receive ride requests, access directions via GPS, and manage transactions.
WHERE TO FIND LEADS Large urban areas are best. Once youqualify on a ridesharing platform, you’ll use their app to access ride requests.
PAY RANGE $$ | Per trip rates vary widely and depend on manyfactors, including local demand, the type of car you drive (newer, bigger, and higher-end vehicles earn more), and when and how often you drive. Drivers may also get tips. According to the website Rideshare Central, drivers for Uber and Lyft earned an average of$15.50–$17.50 an hour in 2017 before accounting for gas and other expenses, although some drivers can earn $25 an hour or more.
ROAD TEST OR DRIVER’S LICENSE EXAMINER
SERVICE PROVIDED Administer road tests to people applying for adriver’s license.
SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE NEEDED +++ | Know how to drive, andhave a valid driver’s license for the type of vehicle you are testing. You need a clean driving record and to complete training programs and other requirements as determined by state law.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ★ | No special equipment needed.
WHERE TO FIND LEADS State licensing agencies, driving schools,word of mouth, advertised openings.
PAY RANGE $$$ | Road test examiners earn an average of $21 perhour.
SERVICE PROVIDED Take packages to the post office; drop off andpick up dry cleaning; bring prescriptions to the pharmacy; buy cards, snacks, or household items; get the car washed; and other routine tasks.
SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE NEEDED ++ | Know how to drive andhave a valid license or be able to ride a bicycle. You may find yourself
spending a lot of time in checkout lines and traffic, so don’t do this if idle minutes make you impatient.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ★ | Car or bicycle. If you join an on-demandservice, you’ll need a smartphone to access the necessary apps.
WHERE TO FIND LEADS On-demand services such asTaskRabbit.In addition, people sometimes post requests for help with errands to local groups on social networking sites—especially worth checking out if there are no on-demand services in your area. You may be able to post your availability on these sites too. But check the group rules first (some consider it advertising and don’t allow it).
PAY RANGE $$$ | It varies by the job, butHomeAdvisorsuggestserrand runners be paid $25–$30 per hour or more for driving errands. TaskRabbit enables its “taskers” to set their own rates and matchesthem to customers who are willing to pay those rates.
SCHOOL BUS DRIVER
SERVICE PROVIDED Transport children to and from school, daycare, after-school programs, and camp.
SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE NEEDED +++ | Experience driving, acommercial driver’s license, and other training or certifications required by law. Have a good rapport with children of all ages. Be able to think quickly and stay calm during an emergency or if kids get out of control.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ★★★★ | School bus supplied by the schooldistrict.
WHERE TO FIND LEADS Sources of jobs include bus companies,school districts, summer camps, and other programs that use buses to transport children. You may find openings advertised on job classified sites.
PAY RANGE $ | School bus drivers typically earn $11–$20 per hour,depending on where they live.
Shuttle bus/van driver, adult day-care/assisted-living driver, medical van driver, wheelchair van driver, chauffeur/limousine driver: drive a shuttle bus, van, or limousine. Work includes transporting people and groups between hotels and airports, around a corporate or an academic campus, to events (such as weddings, proms, or nights out), or taking elderly adults and people with disabilities to and from medical appointments and recreational programs. For the latter, you may need First Aid/CPR certification.
SERVICE PROVIDED Transport people.
SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE NEEDED +++ | Know how to drive, havea valid driver’s license and a taxi (or hackney) license. Good conversation skills help earn tips.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ★★ | Taxi drivers either own their ownvehicles or rent them from a fleet company.
WHERE TO FIND LEADS Fleet companies advertise online, or youmay hear about work from friends or colleagues.
PAY RANGE $ | Fares, which are composed of a base rate plus arate per mile, are regulated locally. Typical fares range from an estimated $2 to $12 for a mile trip and $14 to $63 for 10 miles. Taxi drivers typically earn around $11 per hour.
SERVICE PROVIDED Transport goods and make deliveries.
SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE NEEDED ++ | Know how to drive atruck, have a valid commercial driver’s license and meet other eligibility criteria. For example, you need a hazmat license to transport hazardous materials.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ★★★ | If you offer your servicesindependently, you need your own truck.
WHERE TO FIND LEADS Trucking companies, package deliverycompanies, and peer-to-peer delivery or task-on-demand platforms can be sources of work, as can any company with a fleet of trucks or products to haul. Openings may be advertised in the online classifieds. You may also learn of opportunities from your friends and colleagues, including through social media.
PAY RANGE $$ | Drivers of heavy trucks and tractor-trailers usuallyget paid by the mile; most earn more than $20 per hour. Light truck and delivery truck drivers typically earn around $17 per hour.
TOW TRUCK DRIVER
SERVICE PROVIDED Assist motorists when their vehicles aredisabled or tow cars that are violating parking laws.
SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE NEEDED ++ | Have a valid driver’slicense and meet other criteria required by state law. You may need a commercial driver’s license. Most tow truck drivers learn on the job, though some employers prefer to hire people with experience.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ★★ | Tow truck and equipment for chargingbatteries and changing tires.
WHERE TO FIND LEADS Local car repair shops, gas stations, androadside assistance services may have openings for tow truck drivers. You may find opportunities listed in the online classifieds or hear about them from your friends and colleagues.
PAY RANGE $$ | Tow truck drivers typically make around $13 perhour, although drivers of heavy duty rigs can earn more. Some drivers also earn a commission on their calls.
SERVICE PROVIDED Park cars at restaurants, event venues,airports, hotels, or private parties.
SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE NEEDED ++ | Know how to drive andhave a valid license. You may need to know how to work a standard transmission. If you work for a valet service, you may need at least a year or two of previous valet, driving, or delivery experience. You should also be physically fit: this work requires a lot of walking, standing, and sometimes running if you need to get to a customer’s car quickly.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT ★ | No special equipment needed.
WHERE TO FIND LEADS Agencies advertise online. Networking inyour community may help you find work parking cars for local events or private parties.
PAY RANGE $ | Like restaurant servers, valets are expected to gettips, which means they can be paid a lower minimum wage than workers who don’t receive tips. That accounts in part for the wide pay range anywhere from $5 (below the federal minimum wage of $7.25) to $25 per hour depending on the location.
“I would say set modest goals for how much time you want to spend and how much money you want to make.” —Megan, Uber driver